This is data from the USA, but the picture I should imagine might be true on a smaller scale in the UK. The difference, I guess, not being an economist, is that we still have a larger state over here and some vestiges of union action.

So how this plays out in terms of the pressure it puts on the workforce, and especially those employed directly or indirectly by the government, is different. It’s why we’re having lots of strikes right now.

It strikes me as extremely disingenuous of the UK government to be spinning the current crisis as being about them trying to avoid ’embedding 10% inflation’ in the economy. It’s not like we’re going to see a reduction in prices if inflation levels decrease. People will still have had a real-terms pay cut.

As an historian by training, I can’t help but think about the parallels with the Black Death and the collapse of feudalism due to the lack of workers…

Chart showing labour force shortfall in US

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell struck a particularly somber note at his press conference earlier this week when he mentioned that one reason the labor market is so tight right now is that many workers died from COVID-19.

The big picture: Economists have theorized for a while about the impact of COVID deaths on the labor market. Now, research has started to emerge and key public figures like Powell are starting to talk about it explicitly.

Source: Fed chair Powell on the U.S. labor shortage: COVID, retirements, missing immigrants | Axios